TMAC Resources is in the process of sending its Nunavummiut employees home with pay from Hope Bay to wait out the COVID-19 virus risk.
Close to 60 direct hires and contract workers will receive standby salary during this time, according to Lana Pisarenko, investor relations associate with TMAC Resources. Kitikmeot Corporation, which operates four subsidiaries at Hope Bay that employ Nunavut-based workers, has opted to do the same, Pisarenko added.
“Through this measure we are eliminating the potential risk of transmission of COVID-19 from a southern worker to a Nunavut worker, and then on to a Kitikmeot community,” Pisarenko said, adding that the company will reassess these interim safety measures after the next couple of crew changes.
The mining company’s workforce from the south, representing approximately 600 people, continues to work at the gold site, 125 km southwest of Cambridge Bay.
To minimize the chances of COVID-19 showing up at Hope Bay, TMAC has put its infectious disease control plan in place, which addresses enhanced hygienic practices and the screening of employees for symptoms or high-risk activity before boarding flights.
Another precaution that the company has taken is to lock the survival shelter at Roberts Bay, which is usually available to local harvesters travelling from Cambridge Bay to the Hope Bay area or Bathurst Inlet.
“This is being done to eliminate the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from one of our site workers to a travelling hunter,” Pisarenko stated, but she added that TMAC will still assist with on-the-land emergencies or searches.